Forests and Lakes – For People – Forever ®

Featured in “Fresh from the Woods”

January 21, 2011

Forests for Maine’s Future highlighted Downeast Lakes Land Trust in a feature article on “Community Forests: an old idea that is new again” by Joe Rankin.  Click here for the full article in “Fresh from the Woods”.  After describing examples of town forests across the state, complete with pictures, the article turns to the work of DLLT:

“The Farm Cove Community Forest project is a good example.

When guides and other citizens had concerns about potential lakeshore development and loss of public access to forests around Grand Lake Stream, they founded the Downeast Lakes Land Trust. They then sought help from the New England Forestry Foundation and many other partners.

The results so far: acquisition of the 27,000-acre Farm Cove Community Forest, a 312,000-acre conservation easement, and protection of 50 miles of the St. Croix River. And, later, the addition to the Farm Cove Community Forest of 6,600 acres of adjacent woodland known as the Wabassus Lake Tract.

Money for Farm Cove came from sources as diverse as donor Elmina B. Sewall of Kennebunkport, Wal-Mart, the Land for Maine‘s Future Board, The Nature Conservancy, and the North Cape Oil Spill Settlement Fund.

DLLT is now working to raise another $24 million to acquire an additional 22,000 acres in Grand Lake Stream Plantation. “We’re making good progress two years into the campaign,” said DLLT Executive Director Mark Berry.”

The Community Forest Collaborative says that one of the things needed to make the community forest movement a success nationally is a federal program to serve as a conduit for money.

That might yet happen.

The Community Forest and Open Space Program was created under the U.S. Forest Service. But the program is not yet funded.

Proponents of the community forest movement say the model is a valuable tool for conservation and one likely to gain importance.

Berry agrees. But he doesn‘t think it will be the dominant tool for preventing forest fragmentation.

“It’s likely that, on a large-scale basis, conservation easements will remain a primary tool to accomplish that,” Berry said. “But in selected circumstances town forests can be an important part of the equation. An easement can guarantee that the forest will remain undeveloped and open to public access, but ownership provides the local community opportunity to manage the resources, provide local community benefits and know that the management can be sustained for the long term.””

Forests for Maine’s Future is a collaboration of the University of Maine, Maine TREE Foundation, the Small Woodland Owners Association of Maine and the Maine Forest Service.